Friday, April 24, 2015

Last Drawing

At 2 am Wednesday night, as I put the finishing touches on my final drawing, I felt more so than ever the joy of drawing.

Having no prior art experience, I signed up for this class full of enthusiasm. Last semester, one of my friends recommended taking Professor Fick's introductory drawing class, and all of a sudden, I had become intrigued by the idea of being an artist.

But then came the first day we drew in class. The subject was simply a ball on a stool, and as I began to draw it, I found something strange. As soon as I looked away from the subject and back at my pad, I forgot what I was even trying to draw. Every few marks I put down would have to be erased. I needed to constantly squint my eyes in order to compress the 3-D objects I saw onto a 2-D page. And after making the slightest bit of progress, I realized that all the angles and proportions were off, and so I'd erase everything again. I never realized how much information one had to sort out when drawing from observation. The process was agonizing. 

And for most of the semester, I agonized over drawing. I would spend hours on my assignments while never producing anything of which I could be proud. Frankly, I was depressed with my apparent lack of talent.

But there were moments, few as they were, that I felt surges of inspiration. If you look in my sketchbook, you'll see two series of sketches: one of just my hands and another of portraits of famous physicists. These two series were each done in single sittings, and I'm sure I had found some kind of "zone." I think something clicked during those moments. It was not that I particularly drew well, but that I drew with definite purpose and patience.

As I continued to keep up with the assignments, I tried to remember how I felt during those moments when I enjoyed my sketchbook. I can't say I succeeded right away. Making polished assignments of large open spaces is much more difficult and taxing than simple sketching. But with our last assignment, for which we were basically given free reign on the narrative, inspiration hit again. Despite working on a deadline late into Wednesday night, I felt no stress. I was patient with my lines and shading, yet I didn't agonize over them. Without realizing it, I was enjoying myself, and I am proud of the finished product.

I'm glad that the zone found me one more time. And it came at a good time, because I think it helped me realize something basic but important-- that my right to enjoy and create art never had anything to do with talent.

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